‘Get your popcorn ready’: Bear River football standout Tre Maronic chooses Western Illinois University | TheUnion.com

‘Get your popcorn ready’: Bear River football standout Tre Maronic chooses Western Illinois University

Tre Maronic has a message for the coaching staff at Western Illinois University.

“Get your popcorn ready,” the Bear River senior said, quoting NFL Hall of Famer Terrell Owens.

In front of a crowd of about 70 people, Maronic signed a National Letter of Intent to attend and play football at Western Illinois University, Wednesday at Bear River High School.

“I fell in love with this game when I was 5 years old, and every year my focus has remained the same, to get better every year, every season and every play. I’m never satisfied,” Maronic said in a prepared statement. “I’ve had one goal since I started playing and today I take another step in making that a reality … It all started on Saturday afternoons, and then those Friday night lights, and as much as I will miss the Friday night lights games, all I can think about is buckling up that chin strap on Saturdays again and doing it in purple.”

Western Illinois University is a Division I school which competes Missouri Valley Football Conference. The Leathernecks are coming off a 1-11 season in 2019. Maronic said he can’t wait to start contributing anyway he can.

“I’m going there to learn from my teammates and coaches and do whatever it takes to earn reps on the field immediately,” he said. “I don’t care if it’s offense, defense or special teams. I have only one gear and it’s full go every snap.”

Maronic was a three-year varsity starter for the Bear River football team, helping the squad earn playoff berths in three straight seasons, reach a pair of Sac-Joaquin Section championship games and bring home a title in 2017.

“He’s so versatile,” Bear River co-head coach Terry Logue said. “He’s one of the most versatile guys we’ve ever had. He plays offense, defense, quarterback, receiver, running back, defensive back, and runs back kickoffs and punts. Does just about anything you want him to do.”

The 6-foot, 3-inch, 200-pound standout wore many hats for Bear River’s football team. He played quarterback, running back, receiver, cornerback, safety, kick returner and long snapper for the Bruins, bringing his special brand of grit and talent to each position.

Across the 36 high-school games Maronic suited up for, he scored 43 touchdowns (25 rushing, 12 receiving, three passing, two interception returns and one kickoff return). In his senior season, Maronic scored 12 touchdowns on the ground, tossed two through the air and returned two interceptions for scores, despite missing several games due to injury.

He earned All-Pioneer Valley League honors in all three of his varsity seasons.

“I’m really impressed with his toughness,” said Bear River co-head coach Scott Savoie. “Some of you have seen it and the guys he played with know it, he’s not the type of guy to nurse an injury. Three weeks after breaking his clavicle, he’s got clearance to play. He is a tough young man and I think that’s really going to help him down the road … The name Leathernecks, I think that fits him well.”

Savoie and Logue both applauded Maronic’s work in the classroom as well. Maronic, who is receiving a full-ride scholarship, said he will pursue an education in business, law enforcement or kinesiology.

Maronic said he chose Western Illinois in part because the coaching staff offered him an opportunity to play offense, more specifically the “super back position.”

“Super back is a unique position,” explained Maronic. “It’s a wildcat quarterback, slot receiver and a running back. So, I’m going out in the flats, running wheel routes, running the ball, throwing the ball, everything.”

Maronic, who turned 18 on Tuesday, added he has no intention of redshirting and hopes to make an immediate impact.

“When I suit up, I’m not playing for myself anymore. I’m playing for my brother, my family, my teammates, my coaches and my school,” he said. “I’m very proud to become a Leatherneck today. I will prove to them quickly that they made a good investment … You’re getting an extremely dedicated, appreciative, humble, fired up superback who is ready to contribute and will work his ass off day one.”

Maronic expressed gratitude for his family and all the coaches he’s had along the way, noting they have helped him develop the discipline and character needed to excel on the field and in the classroom.

“I want to thank all the coaches I’ve had, but most of all my dad,” said Maronic. “He’s coached me since I was little. And when I was little he would ask me what I wanted to be, and I would say play in the NFL. And he’s pushed me to that point and this is just another step toward that.”

To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, email wford@theunion.com or call 530-477-4232.

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